A legendary Malacca warrior, Hang Tuah lived in the golden age of the Malacca Sultanate.
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Arguably the most famous Malay warrior of all time, Hang Tuah was the leader of five close companions. Together with Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu and Hang Lekir, they rose in fame to become the sultanate's five foremost warriors, and protected Malacca from its enemies. Numerous stories are connected to the five companions, although Hang Tuah is the most famous of them all, becoming Laksamana, or admiral of Malacca.
A well believed to have been dug by Hang Tuah and his companions still stands in Kampung Duyong, a village said to be their childhood home. A common folktale related to this well mentions that Hang Tuah's soul takes the form of a white crocodile which can be seen at the well.
Hang Tuah's prowess as a warrior was said to be legendary, and his weapon, a kris known as Taming Sari, was reputed to be the source of his supernatural powers. Myths surround this kris, named after its original owner, a Majapahit warrior, who was defeated by Hang Tuah in a duel. Some of these myths state that the kris was thrown into a river by Hang Tuah in a fit of grief at his disappointment for failing his sultan while others believe that the kris is now part of the Perak Sultanate's royal regalia. Wherever the original may be, there is a communications tower in Malacca that bears it name. Taming Sari Tower, or Menara Taming Sari, is a 110 metre structure designed to be a giant replica of the legendary kris.
Even though the five friends were said to be inseperable, a tragic incident resulted in the death of Hang Jebat at the hands of Hang Tuah. Envious of Hang Tuah's rise, some Malaccan nobles plotted his downfall by spreading rumours of an affair between Hang Tuah and a lady in waiting of the Malacca court. The enraged Sultan sentenced Hang Tuah to death without a trial, but Hang Tuah was spirited away and kept hidden by Bendahara Tun Perak, the prime minister at that time. News of Hang Tuah's execution reached Hang Jebat, who exacted revenge by going on a murderous spree. Eventually, Hang Tuah was brought in to defeat Hang Jebat, and killed his friend after a long duel, marking the end of the tragedy.
Three tombs purportedly belonging to Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat and Hang Kasturi are located within Malacca and have become tourist destinations. Although there are doubts over the authenticity of these tombs, they serve as interesting reminders of one of Malacca's fabled legends.